Being one of the most popular tourist destinations of all time, the US sees a huge number of people coming and going throughout the year, which is exactly why it's important that people know what they should and should not be doing during their visit. We know that this may seem pretty simple to people who travel a lot, but believe us when we say that there are a bunch of things that tourists need to stop doing while they're in the US!
What we've done is pull together a few things that tourists must stop doing while they're visiting the US, as they're consistently doing them while they're here and the locals really don't like it! For anyone soon to be visiting, or who visits regularly, just take a look at this list and make sure to stay on the right side of the native people there.
So, we think it's about time that everyone took a look at the things that every tourist does wrong while visiting the US. This way, people can ensure that they don't get on people's nerves without really meaning to!
25 Infringe On Personal Space
We understand that where you come from, personal space isn't as big an issue, but that isn't true in the US!
"US citizens in general like a certain space around them, like a Hula Hoop buffer. Pushing into a citizens personal space is very uncomfortable and will change the way your interaction goes" (thrillist).
Always remember to allow people a certain amount of personal space and everything will be alright.
24 Cutting In Line - no cuts!
There are a lot of places in the world where the concept of a line is just a temporary concept, something that people only do out of social respect.
However, this isn't true in the states where we take lines seriously!
People in the US expect everyone to stay in line once they've made it into one, and if you cut, then you will find yourself on the wrong side of a lot of people.
23 Don't understand proper flirting codes
"Don't stare at women. They don't get the foreign flirting codes and will get very uncomfortable, or freak out and call the police. If you are interested, go and talk to her but don't look like a stalker" (thrillist). To be honest, this is probably good advice for everyone, no matter where they are in the world, but if you come from somewhere that it is accepted to act like this around women, just be aware that it is definitely not okay to do it once you're in the US!
22 Compare Everything To The Native Land
It's well accepted that people in the states are proud of where they're from, so why would you wind someone up like this?
"Don't talk about how much better this thing or that thing is in your country. Someone might just tell you to go back there" (thrillist).
People in the US know that there are problems with where they live, so they don't need other people from around the world pointing out how they do it better.
21 Stopping For Too Long
Yes, we don't like it when people are walking in front of us and then abruptly stop, which for some reason, tourists seem to do on a regular basis!
"Don't block the entire sidewalk by walking side by side with your family. Walk in a line instead, and on the right hand side."
If you're on your own, then keep moving. If you're in a group, make sure that it's easy for other people to get past you when they want to.
20 Explaining Football...
We all know the jokes about how people in the US call their favorite game football, despite the rest of the world disagreeing with them.
"Don't talk about how superior soccer is to US football. You'll most likely just be looked at with contempt and pity."
Look, people in the US have heard it all before, so they don't need to hear it from everyone that visits their country!
19 Make Jokes About sensitive issues
Don't joke about these sensitive issues. This is a rule for obvious reasons (thrillist).
Honestly, we don't think we should have to write any more comments about this one. People should know without us having to tell them that there are just some things out there that should not be joked about.
We don't actually think that any of you should be joking about this sort of thing, no matter where you are in the world.
18 Refuse To Tip
"20% is acceptable. Lower is fine for bad service, just keep in mind if you don't tip well, or don't tip at all, you are sending a message that you were highly dissatisfied with the service and/or restaurant. If that's the message you want to send, no problem." While there's a chance that tipping isn't considered important in the area of the world that you live in, this is something that people in the US take very seriously, so get ready to learn how to do it properly!
17 Touch People
"Don't touch people you don't personally know. Hand shakes are just fine but don't hug or kiss, and be careful of your limbs when in a crowded bus or train."
Look, we know that to other cultures this obsession with keeping distance might seem odd, but the people of the US don't want to be touched by people they don't know.
Don't get too close to strangers, and you can be sure that you won't have any problems in the long run.
16 Talk About Certain Public Issues
It's a tough time in the world, a time that is full of people who all want to talk about what exactly is going on in the highest offices in the land, but that doesn't mean they should!
"It's ok to discuss these issues with people you know well enough but if you take a strong stance on one of these hot button issues, you may be seen as an another outsider."
Stay away from this sort of talk whenever strangers are about, or else you risk being alienated.
15 Mention Size
"In your country, big people might be shunned, and obesity is widely accepted as a health problem. In America, there's an odd duality of 'love your image' and 'skinny is good'. Being vocal about folks in Wal-Mart will almost certainly earn you looks." Do we need to say more? It's probably not a good idea to comment on the way someone looks no matter where you are in the world, but the concept of size is such a big issue in the US that this is the topic to stay away from over any other.
14 Play With People's Kids
It's sad, we know, but playing with stranger's children is definitely not something you can do in the states.
"Don't stare or talk to children. If they talk to or want to play with you, ask them where are their parents. If you just want to be nice, make sure their parents are there and are fully aware you are just kidding with them."
It's a dangerous world that we live in, so people are going to be extra careful about strangers being nice to their children.
While we don't agree that people should be able to tell complete strangers to smile, you will find that people will treat you much better in the US if you smile!
Sure, if you're having a bad day, then have a bit of a grump, but otherwise try and make sure that you have a smile on your face.
Frowning is just one of those things that makes people immediately judge you before they've started talking to you, whether or not this is right or wrong.
12 Underestimate The Size Of The Country
"I’ve seen a lot of visitors come here and think that America is *only* New York City and Los Angeles (and on a good day, Las Vegas and Texas) just to go into shock how big America is once they take a road trip."
There are a lot of big countries out there, and believe us when we say that the US is one of them!
This is a place that is known for things being bigger, and it's no surprise when you come to realize just how big the country is as well!
11 Let A Silence Hang
One of the greatest signs that somebody is comfortable around someone else is that they can be silent, which implies that nobody in the US is comfortable around anyone else!
"Avoid silences. US citizens have a weird obsession with keeping a conversation flowing. Silences longer than 3 seconds are considered weird and tend to freak them out."
If you're the sort of person who likes to sit back and think about what you have to say, you may find that people don't feel too comfortable around you in the US.
10 Eating Near Tourist Sites
Look, there is a reason that these places are considered as tourist sites, and that's because pretty much nobody else goes to them. That being said, one of the things that people within the US like to do is eat, so don't expect to find an empty place around a tourist site. US citizens are willing to wait a long time for some good food, so if there's a good place around a tourist site, the people within US will make sure that they get in there before you have any chance to.
9 Complain About The Price
The US is a place that works on money, lives off capitalism and when people turn up to tell them that they shouldn't be living like this. This means that, going on and on about how much costs will annoy the US citizens who have to put up with those prices every single day! These people know how much everything costs, which is why they stay away from the high prices, unlike the tourists who come and foolishly pay them!
8 Travel Without A Seat Belt
To be honest, this is generally good advice for anywhere in the world as it's basic travel safety, but we understand that there are places on this planet that don't expect the passengers in a car to all be wearing seatbelts. However, this isn't true in the US, where it is against the law to travel without wearing a seatbelt. This might seem silly to you, but it's for your own safety, so don't complain and just get on with it while in the US!
7 Using A Phone While Driving
Just like above, this is basic travel safety! You may see some other people using their phones while driving, but believe us when we say that this is illegal and they shouldn't be doing this. Make sure you don't get caught out and end up getting in trouble by using your phone while driving. Whether or not this is a big deal in your own country, it is in the US, and using your phone while driving can end up causing a major accident.
6 Insulting The Flag
The people of the US take their flag very seriously, so if you're from a country where people are less bothered, just bear this in mind when commenting on the US flag. Whether or not you agree, it's important to recognize this part of the culture and not step on any toes. In fact, it's probably best for everyone visiting the US to stay away from the concept of the flag altogether, just so they don't end up upsetting someone.
5 Staring At People
There are places in this world where looking at strangers, and even staring at them sometimes, is not seen as a big deal.
If you are staring at someone in the US, especially when on public transport, this will not be taken well by most people...
Either the person you're staring at will become angry at you, or they will find you incredibly creepy. It's important to bear this in mind when travelling in the US!
4 Moving Once Stopped By The Police
There is an accepted protocol in the US whenever anyone is stopped by a police officer on the road, and that starts with the driver not moving or getting out of the car when they've been stopped, as the officer will take this as an aggressive act. Whether or not this is right, tourists need to bear in mind that the officer doesn't know you're from a different country, and these people are carrying around very dangerous items that you don't want to mess with!
3 Honking A Car Horn
Look, we understand that some people on the road need a reminder to pay attention so that they don't end up causing a road accident, but in the US, we try not to use the horn too much. Not only is it jarring, but it can actually surprise people out of paying attention to the road, especially if they weren't doing anything too dangerous! Just bear this in mind when driving around the US, as you may end up on the wrong side of someone if you're not careful...
2 Trying To Do Too Much
"The continental United States is larger than Europe, so the most important advice I can give foreign travelers to the United States is: don't try to see and do too much." This is definitely something to keep in mind, because the US can end up surprising people with its size, so try and keep things on a smaller scale when deciding how best to spend your time in the absolutely massive country. You will find that you're less disappointed when you do it this way.
1 Be Late
"If someone in the United States tells you to meet them 8 p.m., you should meet them at 8 p.m. or arrive a few minutes early. US citizens take punctuality very seriously and it is considered rude to be late."
Yes, this sort of thing matters to people in the US, so it's important to bear it in mind whenever you're making plans!
You will find that people are much nicer to you if you make sure that you're on time.
Sources: TripSavvy; Thrillist; WhatWhenWhy